The NRL Preliminary Finals continue on Saturday when the Penrith Panthers host the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The Panthers have enjoyed a week's break following their narrow victory over the Sydney Roosters, while the Rabbitohs once again came from behind to overcome a brave Parramatta Eels side last week.
Penrith Panthers Form
The Panthers have put together one of the all time great seasons, with their side revolved around players who began playing at the club in their teen years.
Nathan Cleary is a short priced favourite to secure this year's Dally M medal, and he continued his outstanding form when scoring a hat-trick against the Roosters in Week 1 of the finals.
After conceding an early 12-0 lead to the Roosters in the Qualifying Final, the Panthers scored 28 straight points before a Cleary field goal eventually started the Roosters comeback to coming away 29-28 victors.
Penrith Panthers Team News
Kurt Kapewell starts in the second-row for the suspended Viliame Kikau with Spencer Leniu joining the bench in the only change.
The Panthers team for Saturday can be found below:
1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Brent Naden 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To'o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Zane Tetevano 18. Mitch Kenny 19. Dean Whare 20. Matt Burton 21. Jack Hetherington
South Sydney Rabbitohs Form
For the second time in as many weeks, the Rabbitohs were forced to overcome a very slow start against the Eels to finally emerge 38-24 victors in last week's semi-final.
Struggling to put together an 80 minute performance, the Rabbitohs were down 18-8 at half time before mounting a monumental second-half.
Hitting form at the right time of the season, the Rabbitohs have been one of the most exciting attacking sides in recent weeks, with star playmakers Damien Cook and Cody Walker dominating their opposition.
South Sydney Rabbitohs Team News
The Rabbitohs have named and unchanged side from last week's win.
The Rabbitohs team list for Saturday can be found below:
1. Corey Allan 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su'A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Liam Knight 16. Jed Cartwright 17. Keaon Koloamatangi 18. Steven Marsters 19. Hame Sele 20. Troy Dargan 21. Patrick Mago
Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs Head To Head
The Panthers boast a narrow lead over the Rabbitohs in head-to-head matches, winning 17 of 32 games. The Panthers and Rabbitohs have only met on one occasion so far this season, which saw Penrith emerge 20-12 victors in Round 7.
Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs Betting Odds
The Panthers are 1.47 to defeat the Rabbitohs at 2.75, with the line set at -6 for the Panthers (1.90) and +6 for the Rabbitohs (1.90).
Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs Match Up
They say halfbacks win grand finals, and we have seen that in recent times with champion halves Cooper Cronk and Johnathon Thurston dominating premiership winning sides.
With Adam Reynolds already a premiership winner and Nathan Cleary arguably the competition's best player at the moment, both halfbacks hold the key to this game. Whoever wins the battle of the halves will likely win the game.
Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs Key Stats
- The Panthers have won 3 of their last 4 matches over the Rabbitohs.
- The Panthers are aiming for their 17th consecutive victory.
- The Rabbitohs have won five of their last six away games.